]This warm drink is a great way to greet your guests as they arrive on chilly holiday nights. Consider using some nice fresh cinnamon sticks as decorative stir sticks. I like to serve this in a see-through glass or tiny glass demi-tasse. It is so beautiful you’ll want to capture the look. Buy the best natural local apple cider you can find and good-quality, pure cranberry juice, usually found in health food stores.

4 cups pure natural apple cider
3/4 cup pure unsweetened cranberry juice
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
peel from one orange
1 cinnamon stick, preferably Mexican
2 large pieces mace or 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp whole cloves
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more if needed
a few course grinds of black pepper
3 fl oz Cognac or brandy

In a medium saucepan, add apple cider, cranberry juice, cranberries, ginger, orange peel, cinnamon stick, mace, cloves, sugar and pepper. Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and liquid is hot (do not boil). Remove from heat. Stir in Cognac. Remove the orange peel with a slotted spoon and discard. Taste and adjust sweetness as needed. Serve warm, portioning out the cranberries as you go.

Editor’s note: Karen Viva-Haynes is the chef-owner of Viva Tastings ( My husband and I so enjoyed this drink at one of Karen’s Underground Kitchen dinner parties just before we went to press that I just had to get the recipe to share with Edible Toronto readers. Enjoy!